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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Bob Bolton Lyr Add: Stockman's Last Bed / Stockman's Grave (8) Add: The Stockman's Last Bed / Stockman's Grave 15 May 13


G'day Roy, Grishka & Joybell,

This is just one of a number of versions on my portable drive( an 1857 collection much reprinted in the "revival era" of anything like "Bush Music":

Here is how it appeared in Australian Tradition:

THE STOCKMAN'S GRAVE

Be ye bushman or not, to my story give ear;
Poor Jack's gone at last, and no more shall ye hear
The crack of his stock-whip, his steed's lively trot,
His clear "go-a-head," or his jingling quart pot.
He sleeps where the wattles their sweet perfume shed,
And the tall gum-trees shadow the stockman's last bed.

While yarding one day, he was gored by a cow:
"Alas!" cried poor Jack, "it's all up with me now.
"No more to the saddle shall I vault again,
"Nor bound like a wallaby over the plain.
"I shall sleep where the wattles their sweet perfume shed,
"And the tall gum-trees shadow the stockman's last bed.

"My whip will be silent, my dog now may mourn,
"My steed look in vain for his master's return.
"Unknown and uncared for - unpitied I die;
"Save Australia's dark sons, none will pass where I lie.
"I'll sleep where the wattles their sweet perfume shed,
"And the tall gum-trees shadow the stockman's last bed."


But stranger, if ever, at some future day,
In search of wild cattle you happen to stray
To where lone and forgotten poor Jack's bones are laid,
Far, far from the land where in childhood he played,
Tread light where the wattles their sweet perfume shed,
And the tall gum-trees shadow the stockman's last bed.


The earliest dated version I have is from Annabella Boswell's Journal but no other details of publication given, except to indicate that it had been re-published in recent years. An excerpt from the book is given, dated 1845, in which Boswell describes a visit of Colonel Grey and his two daughters and goes on to say that the text of the song was by his daughters: "Bessie wrote some pretty poems, not without merit, and together they composed a parody on what was then a very favourite song, THE LAST WHISTLE which was called THE STOCKMAN'S LAMENT." (The 4 verse ballad then follows, as given below).
The section relating to the song has been reproduced in the Australian Folklore Society Journal no. 39 1998, page 888.

THE STOCKMAN'S LAST BED
Tune - The Last Whistle

Whether stockman or not, for a moment give ear,
Poor Jack's breathed his last, and no more shall we hear
The crack of his whip or his steed's lively trot,
His clear go-ahead and his jingling quart-pot.
He rests where the wattles their sweet fragrance shed,
And tall gum-trees shadow the stockman's last bed.

When drafting one day he was gored by a cow;
Alas, cried poor Jack, it's all up with me now;
I'll no more return to my saddle again,
Or bound like a wallaby over the plain..
I'll rest where the wattles their sweet fragrance shed,
And tall gum-trees shadow the stockman's last bed.

My whip must be silent, my steed he will mourn,
My dogs look in vain for their master's return.
Unknown and forgotten, unheeded I'll die,
Save Australia's dark sons none will know where I lie.
I'll rest where the wattles their sweet fragrance shed,
And tall gum-trees shadow the stockman's last bed.

Oh! Stranger if ever on some future day,
When after a herd you may happen to stray,
Where lone and forgotten poor Jack's bones are laid,
Far, far from the land where in childhood he played,
Tread lightly where wattles, their sweet fragrance shed,
And tall gum-trees shadow the stockman's last bed.

The version credited to the young ladies is a rather pretty rework of a "sailor's song' ... as was much the disembarked at an Australian port ... and went of droving, shearing or otherwise finding a new place on the other side of the world!

Regards,

Bob


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